Ahead of the Copenhagen climate summit, Professor Wangari Maathai, the 2004 Nobel Peace Laureate visited JMP's London office to address an invited audience. Introduced by Sarah Brown, she talked about her life and work, in conversation with Baroness Helena Kennedy.
In 1971, Professor Wangari Muta Maathai became the first woman in East and Central Africa to earn a doctoral degree, having joined the University of Nairobi as an Assistant Lecturer in 1966. She went on to become an Associate Professor and serve as the Chair of the Department of Veterinary Anatomy. Besides being an accomplished scholar, Professor Wangari Maathai has made her mark as an environmental conservationist, an advocate for better natural resource utilisation practices, a tireless champion for democracy and good governance, and a committed campaigner for cultures of peace. She founded the Green Belt Movement in 1977, as a community mobilisation and empowerment organisation for environmental conservation at the grassroots level. By protecting the environment, members of the Green Belt Movement also become powerful champions for sustainable management of scarce resources such as water, equitable economic development, good political governance, and ultimately… peace. Over the decades of her work, Professor Maathai has been honoured with many recognitions, awards and prizes. The pinnacle of her accomplishments was the award of the 2004 Nobel Peace Prize, and she became the first African woman Nobel Peace Laureate.
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